The Wine: Aur-Oura Dolcetto di Ovada 2019
Rocco di Carpeneto Aur-Oura Dolcetto di Ovada is a red natural wine made from 100% Dolcetto grapes grown within the Dolcetto di Ovada appellation. Spontaneous fermentation with native yeast, unfined, unfiltered, no added sulfites. Structured Dolcetto, ripe red fruit, tannins are smooth but present for a slight grip, perfect when paired with charcuterie or a nice plate of pasta al pomodoro.
The Producer: Rocco di Carpeneto
Rocco di Carpeneto - radical wines in Alto Monferrato is a certified organic winery located in Carpeneto, Province of Alessandria, Piedmont. The estate sits on a plateau on the gentle hills of Alto Monferrato. Production focuses only on native varietals – Dolcetto, Barbera, Cortese, Nebbiolo, and Albarossa. Vines are old, they were planted mostly between 1955 and 1986. Rocco di Carpeneto is a VinNatur and FIVI partner, and among the founders of the Consorzio Tutela Ovada DOCG.
The Region: Piedmont
Piedmont (or Piemonte in Italian), described by many wine lovers as the “Burgundy of Italy”, is without a doubt one of the most revered wine-producing regions in the world.
Piedmont, which literally means “at the foot of the mountain”, is located in the northwestern part of Italy. It borders with France (west), Valle d’Aosta (north-west), Lombardy (east), Liguria (south). The capital of Piedmont is Turin, its biggest city, and main industrial center.
In this very similar to Veneto, Piedmont's wine landscape is defined by the presence of several indigenous grape varietals, which give a wide array of incredibly unique wines. Piedmont’s traditional winemaking has one main characteristic: grape varietals, native or non-native, are almost never blended.
The association with Burgundy comes from three essential facts:
1 – Great focus on the quality of production over quantity: wineries in Piedmont tend to be very small, mostly family-owned, and are integrated with the environment.
2 – Terroir-driven approach to viticulture and winemaking: vineyards are carefully subdivided in cru (zonazione in Italian), which give unique wines with a specific character.
3 – Nebbiolo, one of the most famous red grape varietals in the world, is vinified following a similar approach to Pinot Noir in Burgundy – for example, it’s never blended.
The Red Wines of Piedmont
Nebbiolo is for Piedmont what Pinot Noir is for Burgundy. There are several Nebbiolo-based DOCGs - Barolo, Barbaresco, Ghemme, Gattinara - and it's safe to say that Nebbiolo is the most representative red grape varietal of Piedmont.
Other notable red grapes are Barbera, in all its incarnations - Barbera d'Asti, Barbera d'Alba, Barbera del Monferrato - Dolcetto - Dolcetto di Diano d'Alba, Dolcetto di Ovada, Dolcetto di Dogliani - and Brachetto d'Aqui.
Less common but very interesting, especially after being rediscovered by a handful of excellent producers, varietals such as Pelaverga, Freisa, and Grignolino, have found a new place in Piedmont's winemaking landscape.
The White Wines of Piedmont
Piedmont is very often, and mistakenly so, identified as a land of red wine – most notably Barolo and Barbaresco. However, among Piedmont’s most exciting wines, there are several whites. Erbaluce di Caluso, Gavi, Arneis are all native grape varietals vinified superbly into exciting white wines.
Moscato d’Asti is another one of Piedmont’s mainstays, famous in its Asti Spumante iteration, the ubiquitous sweet, white, sparkling wine.